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Bearcats Breakfast 8.29.11

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Quite an action-packed weekend. The final weekend without college football until December. Drink that statement in. It always goes down smooth.

UC held a closed practice under the lights last night as one of the official final preps for the opener against Austin Peay on Saturday at 7 p.m.

While that was going on, a few players came over to the Bearcats Kickoff Party at Dave and Buster's, along with more than 100 fans. Here are some pictures courtesy BearcatLair and my boy Pat Strang.

Butch Jones answered questions. Players signed autographs. I ate a giant burger. Good times.

The event was definitely a success and officially put an end to all the hype and pageantry of anticipating the season. Game week is here.

Six days.

Let's eat...

--- Dr. Saturday takes a final, hyper-specific look at the Big East preview and says UC's absurd turnover margin (119th) from last season will come back to normal and the Bearcats will be in competition for the the title.

The regressing to the mean concept has been on my mind recently and got a little paralysis by statistical analysis rushing through my veins. Are lack of turnovers created and excessive turnovers given away like a three-month virus that washes out of your system? Or is it more like a disease without a cure?

So much of turnovers in football are a result of luck. A fumble bouncing the right way, a tip falling perfectly into the DBs hands, lucky swipe of the ball from a defensive lineman.

I remember interviewing Zach Collaros after the loss at West Virginia last year and when discussing a lucky tipped INT that went the other way just before halftime and flipped the momentum, he said it just seems like every bounce isn't going their way this season. It felt that way last year.

Those which suffered an inordinate amount of bad turnover luck have to fly back to the middle of the pack the next year, right?

I took a look at the five worst turnover margins (average per game) in BCS schools (accompanied by national ranking) for the past five years and saw how they fared the next season.

2010       Nat'l Rank/Margin       Next season
Cincinnati  119th (-1.25)                    ?
Texas        116th (-1.00)
UCLA        113th (-0.92)
Duke         110th  (-0.83)
Michigan    109th (-0.77)

2009       Nat'l Rank/Margin       Next season
Georgia      118th (-1.23)            19th (+0.77)
Michigan    115th (-1.00)            109th (-0.77)
NC State    114th (-0.92)            27th (+0.54)
Wash. St.  102nd (-0.58)            62nd (-0.08)         
Mississippi 101st  (-0.54)           88th (-0.50)

2008       Nat'l Rank/Margin       Next season
Wash St.   120th (-1.92)             102nd (-0.58)
Washington  117th (-1.42)           35th (+0.33)
Louisville      111th (-1.00)           77th (-0.25)
Nebraska     108th (-0.85)           33rd (+0.36)
S. Carolina   108th (-0.85)           81st (-0.31)

2007       Nat'l Rank/Margin      Next season
Baylor        119th (-1.50)            4th (+1.33)
Nebraska    117th (-1.42)           108th (-0.85)
NC State     116th (-1.33)           22nd (+0.62)
Minnesota   115th (-1.25)           16th (+0.92)         
Mississippi  107th (-0.83)           73rd (-0.15)

2006       Nat'l Rank/Margin      Next season
Illinois        117th (-1.25)              70th (-0.15)
NC State    112th (-0.92)             116th (-1.33)
Stanford     112th (-0.92)              38th (+0.17)
UNC          112th (-0.92)              96th (-0.50)
Iowa          111th (-0.85)              22nd (+0.67)
   
--- The answer to the regress to the mean question is, yes, they do come back to the middle. Of the 20 teams analyzed, eight of them not only moved out of the bottom five, but flipped it to a positive turnover margin the next season.

Take that compared to only four finished in the bottom 20 in the country for a second consecutive season.

--- How terrible must it be to be an NC State fan. They have been in the bottom five three of the past four years. Think about how frustrating turnovers are to watch. Now repeat that feeling four years in a row. Still, EVEN NC STATE, rebounded for a +.62 turnover margin following a bottom five performance.

--- Two of the past four years the team with the worst turnover margin among BCS schools has gone on to a top 20 national ranking in the stat the next season. Baylor in 2007 flipped from 119th to 4th. It should be noted Baylor changed to a conservative, run-based attack after throwing 18 picks in 2007, but still, a significant change.

UC won't be changing offenses, but with an increased focus on eliminating turnovers and a shift of some luck, the odds are in favor of the Bearcats not suffering the same turnover-drenched season as 2010.

--- The newsy item
of the weekend was the announcement that Tony Miliano will be the starting kicker against Austin Peay. The walk-on redshirt freshman came on toward the end of camp and earned the nod from Jones.

Here's what CBJ told Bill Koch:

"Both kickers have progressed. But we just thought at this stage of the game Tony has really started to kick with some consistency and some confidence."

As with any spot, the position isn't completely settled and subject to change as the season progresses.

--- Also from th
e news desk: The Crosstown Shootout will be at 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 on ESPN2. As Twitter follower AirJordan points out UC was 0-4 in noon games last season and only beat IPFW by six in the other early game (1 p.m.).

Last year's team hated playing early, and didn't keep that a secret. They talked about it being a punishment if they didn't beat  Georgetown because they could have been in the noon game of the Big East tourney.

That said, most of that is because of a lack of energy for the early games. Something tells me there will be little lack of energy for the Crosstown Shootout.

--- I wrote about the competition at the linebacker situation in-depth last week. Bill put together a feature on Maryland transfer Ben Pooler, who will take over the starting OLB spot next to Maalik Bomar and JK Schaffer.

--- Last Enquirer link here
, Bill writes about CBJ trying to build a program and talks about the behind-the-scenes fundraising and focus on impressing recruits.

End of the day, facilities and atmosphere sway top recruits. Wins bring them on campus.

The return rate on the $300,000 investment of the 1200 Club surges by percentage points with every victory.

--- In case you missed the Inside Bearcats Football season preview show on FoxSports. Here it is. All the information you want to hear from UC players and coaches.

Plus, the sparkling prose of Tommy G.

It's 23 minutes long in case you need to ask your boss how long he'll be in that meeting.

--- The Butch Jones
radio show series was announced and will be every Wednesday at Montgomery Inn. Here is the full schedule with details. It doesn't mention and endless amount of complementary ribs for all balding UC bloggers, so I'm not sure on the truth of any of the information.

--- Zach Collaros was named the No. 3 player in the Big East by Andrea Adelson. Not to say I told you so, but last week I literally did.

--- Some randomness....

--- The damage done and
lives lost because of Hurricane Irene are truly sad. However, the local reporters who stand out and report from the middle of the storm are truly hilarious. Especially when the sea foam they are covered in looks like, well, something much worse.
  
The sea was angry that day, my friends. Like an old man trying to send back soup at a deli.

--- I am loving all these NBA players in pickup games videos. Here's Tyreke Evans showing off sick dribbles.

--- John Goodman makes
an appearance on the season premiere of Community. That's my favorite sentence written in weeks. Here's a sneak peak.

--- Beyonce and Jay-Z's
child will set the record for most swag at birth.

--- With this being game week and all, I figured we'd go with the all pump up songs this week. Songs that make you want to strap on shoulder pads and a helmet and invite Kerry Coombs over your house for a motivational session.

Here's Roy Jones Jr.


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